In today's diverse and multicultural societies, anything that furthers understanding and communication is to be valued and encouraged. Sadly, in the case of the Arts, this is not always the case.
The ability of the Arts to cut across racial, cultural, social, educational and economic barriers makes them a universal language which everyone can understand. They are a medium to enhance cultural awareness and appreciation, and one which provides endless opportunities for every person (not just students) to be lifelong learners, both about themselves and the world around them.
Whatever the medium, the Arts provide us with opportunities for self-expression, bringing our inner world into the outer world in a simultaneous process of 'visible thinking and feeling'. In this sense, Poetry, Music, Drama, Dance, the Visual Arts, are a welcome opportunity to align mind, body and spirit. No other subject area has that power of connection and integration of self, so necessary to counteract the high speed 'cerebral' focus of contemporary life. We need artistic expression to help restore our internal balance.
Furthermore, I believe creativity is an ability with which we are all born. As Picasso once said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up". If you haven't seen it already, before going any further, you MUST watch Sir Ken Robinson's now legendary TED talk on whether schools kill creativity.
Finally, expression and exploration through the Arts are wonderful ways for people to break out of their comfort zone and initiate growth. Do you dare to dream?